True freshman Daniels will be USC’s starting QB

With the season opener less than a week away, Southern California football coach Clay Helton has decided on his man — albeit a young man — to be the Trojans’ starting quarterback.

JT Daniels, 18, is only the second true freshman in USC’s history to get the starting nod. The first was Matt Barkley in 2009.

USC opens its season against UNLV on Saturday afternoon at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Helton made the announcement on Sunday. Daniels beat out redshirt sophomores Matt Fink and Holden Thomas and redshirt freshman Jack Sears.

“At the completion of camp, it became clear to me and our staff that JT had taken a step ahead of Matt, Jack and Holden (Thomas),” Helton said in a statement. “I thought the quarterback competition was very competitive and fair and I am satisfied with how our staff handled the process.”

Daniels, who graduated from high school a year early to enroll at USC, has big shoes to fill, replacing Sam Darnold, who was taken third overall by the New York Jets in this year’s NFL draft.

The reigning Gatorade national player of the year, Daniels was very efficient during the team’s two scrimmages, throwing as many touchdowns (four) as incompletions, as he completed 17 of 21 passes.

“I am honored that Coach Helton picked me as the starter,” Daniels said in a statement.

“I felt that Coach’s decision wouldn’t be wrong whoever he picked. I am thankful to Matt and Jack and Holden for teaching me so much and helping me adjust to the system so that I could quickly get into the flow of things, and I know we will continue to be supportive teammates in the quarterback room,” he said.

–Field Level Media